activist notes

Job Opportunity in Fair Trade Cotton

Job Opportunity In Fair Trade Cotton Garment Market Development
(please forward)
Wearfair Business Developer
Sumac Community Worker Co-operative (owner and operator of Planet Bean Coffee in Guelph) is developing a new enterprise focused on the development of a wholesale market in Canada for fair trade certified organic garments.  Wearfair is a new brand that will be unique in the market in that it will involve cotton farmers and garment workers who are certified fair trade and organic.  The project will work to eventually develop an all women value chain in India which will cover off the process from seed to stitch under ethical and ecologically appropriate conditions.  Wearfair will import and sell these cotton garments in Canada.
Wearfair is looking for a key person to work with the Sumac team to bring the project forward.  The Wearfair Business Developer will:
• participate in the development and then implement a business strategy for Wearfair,
• handle all aspects of sales including processing orders, shipping and invoicing,
• lead the development of a sales strategy for Wearfair,
• participate in the development and implementation of a marketing plan for Wearfair,
• lead the product line development and liaise with our textile manufacturers,
• develop and maintain all business administrative infrastructure for Wearfair including documentation related to fair trade and organic certifications
• represent Wearfair as our lead sales person and account manager

The candidate should:
• have knowledge of the existing ethical/ecological and conventional garment industries in Canada and abroad,
• understand the economics of the garment trade, both the global and Canadian contexts,
• have experience in the wholesale garment trade with knowledge of product costing, evaluation of knit and woven fabrics, garment design and manufacture, fabric dye and colour technologies,
• be literate in design and garment technology trends,
• understand book keeping, financial management, forecasting, and costing,
• understand the forms and functions of social media
• have excellent communication and presentation skills required.
• must have strong problem-solving skills and have an ability to work independently.

The position is an 8 month renewable contract position, approximately 30 hours a week at $17.50/hr.  Wearfair is based in Guelph.
Please forward a cover letter and resume to Bill Barrett <> by 5 PM March 8, 2010.  Please specify “Wearfair Job” in subject line.  Only candidates who are selected for interviews will be contacted.  Thank you for your interest.


Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade, First National General Meeting – Minutes for Nov 1, 2008
June 27, 2009, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Fair Trade, Fair Trade Canada | Tags: ,

First General Meeting of the Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade

November 1, 2008, Afternoon session


Mission Statement


The lunch-time working group brings forward the following proposal for a mission statement with several points of discussion to addressed:

“We, the members of CCFT, are (committed to) building a democratic and solidarity-based (network/movement) engaging the public (as citizens and consumers / as citizens, consumers, and workers) in order to promote global economic (and social) justice and sustainable development through the (expansion/deepening) of Fair Trade in Canada (working with partners internationally).”



What happened to the “alleviate / eliminate” poverty statement?

Could we not open with “The mission of the CCFT is to build”?


A more concise version of the mission statement is proposed:

“CCFT aims to promote and strengthen FT as a sustainable economic model through networking and advocacy.”


Motion to discuss concise proposal in favour of the lunch’s working group proposal. Motion seconded.

All in favour.


Motion to amend “networking and advocacy” to “networking, advocacy, and public engagement”. Motion seconded.

35 in favour. 3 abstentions.


Motion to amend “aims” to “works”. Motion seconded.

36 in favour. 1 dissention. 1 abstention.


Points of clarification: The membership will be defined. FT will be defined.


Motion to approve the mission statement as previously amended: “CCFT works to promote and strengthen FT as a sustainable economic model through networking, advocacy, and public engagement.” Motion seconded.


Motion to amend “sustainable economic model” to “sustainable economic and social model”. Not accepted as a friendly amendment because social impact of FT included in definition.


Call to vote on the motion that is on the floor.

37 in favour. 1 abstention.



Discussion about Structure

– Membership

– Volunteer vs. staff

– Incorporation vs. non-incorporation and affiliation with an NGO

– Board, committee structures


Question: To what level is TransFair Canada already filling the functions foreseen for the coalition and is it possible for any of the functions to be housed within TransFair Canada?


Response: It is important to note that the role of TransFair Canada is about third-party certification and auditing. TransFair Canada has a responsibility to protect the integrity of this certification in the interests of its licensees. Any question of expanding this role would have to respond to licensee interests and the TransFair Canada Board.


Of the survey respondents, 70% supported the structure that was proposed; 90% supported volunteer time; 12% supported financial support.


Point of clarification: We could perhaps see stronger response for financial support once we show results from the weekend that include a commitment to action.


Type of organization:

Are we comfortable being a coalition?

All in favour of organizing as a coalition (une coalition).


Who are our members?

– It’s important to define our membership in a way that does not open us up to dilution or co-optation

– Maybe we could identify caucuses?

– How do we define voting rights?


Rationale for affiliation as opposed to independent incorporation: Would allow for speedier movement into action as opposed to spending lots of time on technicalities of incorporation, smaller outlay of resources at beginning.


Is there an organization in mind?

CCIC could be approached


Question: Should we not re-direct the discussion to priorities? Clear and specific actions are what make coalitions work.





Intermission: Wall of Achievement


Equita: Coordination by Equiterre of National Fair Trade Weeks in Quebec, materials and support offered by TransFair Canada for NFTWs

Fair Trade Manitoba: paid for polling of Manitobans, 3 questions ($1000 a question). Do people understand Fair Trade? Only 44% were not sure. 73% said they when shopping they felt it was important or somewhat important to purchase a labeled Fair Trade item. 11% said they purchased FT products weekly, 24% purchased FT products monthly.

Fair Trade Manitoba: working with Manitoba government on procurement policies

Fair Trade Manitoba: 3rd annual One Month Challenge will begin on Feb 14th 2009 (1,000 participants in 2008); 5,000 participants targeted for this year

TransFair Canada: Reverse Trick-or-Treating campaign to promote FT chocolate in partnership with WUSC and EWB; 30,000 FT chocolates distributed coast to coast for the program; very popular campaign, ran out of chocolate kits before the deadline

TransFair Canada: Fair Trade Towns: 2 recognized; 4 to 5 in process; 30 to 35 getting started

EWB: recently committed to a 3-year outreach plan with Fair Trade as a key element of in-Canada work; current accomplishments: conversations 2 min or longer with 30,000 Canadians about Fair Trade; success in converting workplaces to serving FT coffee; goals: broadening workplace program to reaching 500,000 employees; campus program to get Fair Trade procurement in universities; goal with individual outreach is to talk to 500,000 Canadians in next 3 years

Planet Bean: Fair Trade cotton project in collaboration with Social Economy Program at York University

Research developments: in addition to FT cotton work at York, Gavin Fridell (Trent) is researching FT bananas; Darryl Reed (York) researching purchasing policies; UQAM also undertaking significant research in Fair Trade

Equiterre: coordinating efforts for NFTWs in QC as well as deliberately working to bring together FT actors in QC; campaign on FT chocolate in collaboration with Equita and La Siembra; will be shortly launching a guide on responsible clothing and ethical fashion; promoting Fair Trade bananas in QC

JUDES: school-based curriculum development in Nova Scotia, objective to reach 90% of grade 8 graduates; general public outreach and grassroots educational programs; research on ethical purchasing decisions in collaboration with Social Economy network; FT-tourism projects in collaboration with UCIRI

FTF: resource development on how to bring FT into churches, schools, homes, weddings; resources on how to begin a FT business; 2nd conference for FT businesses coming up in Portland OR, objectives are to strengthen capacity and address issues within the movement

TransFair Canada: reduction of barriers on entry into Canada of FT products labeled by other national initiatives provided that the labeling NI will share reporting information;

Just Us!: sent 9 of its employees on a delegation to meet and connect with FT coffee farmers in Chiapas.  More similar trips being planned by JUDES; Fair Trade Museum very successful; Coffee Comes Alive video produced as an educational tool and this is now being used in Nova Scotia school system

Aide medicale Palestine: importing olive oil from Palestinian producers.  However, still doesn’t find FT movement very networked/supportive, quite isolated actions happening.  Question: will the FT movement be able to represent the different types of FT products and equally represent all of the people working in FT despite the disparate resources of different actors?

Office of Peter Julian, M.P. (NDP): Integrating FT principles into NDP positioning on international trade agreements; working to coordinate legislative agendas with U.S. and Mexican representatives so that there are coordinated demands and a joint platform for renegotiation of NAFTA; this is closely linked to the NDP’S work to stop the Security and Prosperity Partnership



Return to Discussion about Structure


Those meeting decide that it is preferable to address organizational development before moving to a discussion of the areas of action.




Lessons learned from Make Poverty History coalition leads to following proposals

– Only organizations can be admitted to voting membership; individuals can be supporting/affiliate members who can observe but not vote

– Until additional definitions for membership developed, steering committee responsible for approving membership between meetings


Lessons learned from IFAT

– members are organizations who are actively involved in Fair Trade (actors who trade or NGOs who support FT in their activities)

– early on, there was an informal attempt to maintain representation of regions, gender, etc. on steering committee and over time formal mechanisms have evolved to ensure this



– Create caucuses

– There should be a minimum requirement of time and money as a condition of membership

– Steering committee: representative of regions, caucuses (if decided on) or sectors, gender



– how do we engage producer groups in our structure?

– point of clarification: extensive discussions on this point in Montreal; at the time it was felt that our efforts needed to be focused on internally building our organization before we could engage in meaningful peer dialogue with coalitions of producer organizations

– could we not approach this issue by making a commitment as members to share information on the coalition with producer partners and solicit feedback over an initial period of time to determine if producer organizations feel there is a role that they should play within our coalition?

– we could reserve a caucus for producer organizations and if we reach a point in our work that interests producer orgs we would have clear mechanisms for producer representation, engagement


There is general agreement that we will move forward with organizational development along the following lines:


Type of organization:

–          Unincorporated organization

–          Contracting with a  host organization that has legal and financial responsibilities


Governance Structure:

–          Governed and managed by a steering committee of 7-10 people

–          It is important that the steering committee be as representative as possible (particularly with respect to sectoral  & regional differences)

–          For the moment, the steering committee will be selected based on who volunteers, and if there are more than 7 volunteers we could hold a vote

–          Steering Committee is accountable to the host organization


Steering Committee:

–          Manage operational plan

–          Liaise with caucuses and committees and evaluate proposals from the committees

–          Appoint a Chair who will be the key liaison to the host organization

–          Organize member meetings as necessary

–          Hire staff and contractors as needed


Membership Structure:

–          Organizations will be the voting members of the coalition

  • Strike a task force that will further develop the details of membership criteria and contribution (financial, in-kind) for CCFT

–          Individuals will be associated non-voting members

Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade, First National General Meeting – Minutes for Nov 2, 2008
June 27, 2009, 11:49 pm
Filed under: Fair Trade, Fair Trade Canada | Tags: ,

First General Meeting of the Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade

November 2, 2008, Morning session



Organizational Development


There is general agreement that we will develop the organization along the following lines:


Type of organization:

–          Unincorporated organization

–          Contracting with a  host organization that has legal and financial responsibilities


Governance Structure:

–          Governed and managed by a steering committee of 7-10 people

–          It is important that the steering committee be as representational as possible (particularly with respect to sectoral  & regional differences)

–          For the moment, the steering committee will be selected based on who volunteers, and if there are more than 7 volunteers we could hold a vote

–          Steering Committee is accountable to the host organization


Steering Committee:

–          Manage operational plan

–          Liaise with caucuses or committees and evaluate proposals from the committees

–          Appoint a Chair who will be the key liaison to the host organization

–          Organize member meetings as necessary

–          Hire staff and contractors as needed


Membership Structure:

–          Organizations will be the voting members of the coalition

  • Strike a task force that will further develop the details of membership criteria and contribution (financial, in-kind) for CCFT

–          Individuals will be associated non-voting members



1) Who are our voting members?



– those who are active in Fair Trade or who show a demonstrable commitment to Fair Trade (e.g. NGOs engaged in campaigning)

– this could be difficult, different kinds of members could have very different ways of demonstrating commitment

– we need to be sure we are welcoming of orgs that are like-minded (e.g. teachers’ unions, CCA, etc.)

– suggestion: working in Fair Trade for at least one year (could be observing members)

– commitment to a set of values or code of ethics

– this is questionable, as it could lead the coalition into a policing or accreditation role

– once identified, our actions will create a self-selection process for members

– if we are going to undertake political action, though, we need to have a clear understanding of who our members are

– what are the responsibilities of members?

– if we’re a Canadian coalition, are we admitting only Canadian organizations?

– we should remain non-partisan (i.e., not have political parties as members), so that the coalition maintains its autonomy and is perceived as autonomous

– Question: can we not say that all orgs who are committed to our mission and accepted by the steering committee are members?

– Question: are we a coalition of Fair Trade actors or a coalition of actors who support Fair Trade?

– should we not say that actors who support Fair Trade can be affiliate members and that voting members are those who are active in Fair Trade?


Areas of agreement

Voting membership criteria:

Organizations who

– support the Coalition’s mission, values and definition of Fair Trade (once defined)

– show a demonstrable commitment to Fair Trade

– undertake the responsibilities required of members


Carmen Iezzi, Jacqui MacDonald, Jean-Frédéric Lemay, Hillary Vipond, JJ McMurty volunteer to work on developing membership criteria for submission to steering committee and for subsequent circulation to the larger group



2) Structure


– caucus model: sectoral groupings

– committee model: thematic groupings






Traders, retailers, wholesalers



–  Tentatively: Advocacy, Public Engagement, and Networking, but this could be refined once we prioritize the coalitions’ actions

– Can only voting members be on committees? To be defined by membership criteria committee



3) What are we going to do?


There is agreement that we will need to have a couple of prongs of action equally prioritized so as to respond to the diverse needs and interests of our members


A) Advocacy


Discussion as to what this means:

– advocating for FT within a public policy space

– what are we advocating? FT as a sustainable economic model.

– who we are advocating? Municipal gov’ts, universities, workplaces

– what? Procurement and purchasing policies

– are we ready to engage in advocacy on broader trade justice issues?

– it would be difficult for us to lobby businesses: perceived conflict of interest and also difficulty in achieving consensus

– it would be important to have a national campaign

– we should have a platform that is derived from our mission and definition of FT; what is it that we want governments, public institutions to do? What are we asking for in our advocacy work?


Suggestions for next steps:

– survey members to determine what kinds of advocacy campaigns are already underway

– engaging with researchers to determine what work has already been done elsewhere

– undertake diagnostic of where we are and where we can go; ensure we work collaboratively and reflect many voices of FT

– develop platform

– ensure members are informed of findings during this process (listserv, e-newsletters, etc.)


Possible further actions:

– undertaking work to educate folks at CIDA about Fair Trade, bringing independent research that shows impact of Fair Trade

– engaging with Peter Julian’s office on the legislative work that is being undertaking

– addressing tariffs on FT products

– legal recognition of FT


Advocacy Committee:

Darryl Reed, JJ McMurty, Jean-Frédéric Lemay, John Anderson, Zack Gross, Elise Laferrière, Caitlin Peeling



B) Public Engagement



– it could be interesting to undertake public education work targeted specifically at Ottawa as this public overlaps with our federal bureaucracy

– get message out to broader public – advertising campaign?

– we need clear goals around how many Canadians we will succeed in educating about FT, how many will care about FT, and how many will purchase FT products.

– outreach to credit unions with messages about FT

– provide ways to show support for FT, e.g. decals for windows

– larger public engagement, building on NFTWs and WFTD

– connecting with and deliberately including Ten Thousand Villages; there is so much education that happens within Villages stores

– we must address the definition of FT before we can move forward engaging the public with FT

– we need to connect with students

– we need to develop messaging that goes above and beyond driving people towards labels

– develop media contact list and put together media package that would allow us to demand that FT be included in public discourse around trade

– videos or clear narratives that give the story of FT

– good website is what allows you to reach the public


Suggestions for next steps:

–          Develop key consensus-based common message

–          Website

–          Build on existing public engagement moments (NFTWs, WFTD)


Public engagement committee:

Andréanne Leclerc-Marceau, Gyde (Jyde) Shepherd, Carmen Iezzi, Roxanne Cave, Kirsten Daub, Shannon, Jacqueline Solomon, Satya Ramen



Steering Committee


Decision taken to strike an Interim Steering Committee that will

– work with the membership criteria committee to clarify the governance structure

– develop a terms of reference for the steering committee

– clarify a steering committee nomination process for the next general meeting; this process will likely including the striking of a nominating committee that would be responsible for nominating candidates at next general meeting


The interim steering committee will be the governing body until the next general meeting; the committees will be responsible to the interim steering committee until the next general meeting; the interim steering committee will be responsible for calling the next general meeting within a year


Carmen Iezzi (FTF), willing to continue her steering committee participating

Zack Gross (FTM & MCIC) willing to sit on interim steering committee

Equiterre interested but needs to discuss internally to determine who from the organization

Bill Barrett (Planet Bean) interested, but needs approval from his co-members

Jeff Moore (Just Us!) is willing to sit on the interim steering committee pending the approval of his co-op

JJ McMurtry (York University) is willing to sit on the interim steering committee

Elise Laferrière (Equita) is willing to sit on the interim steering committee

Caitlin Peeling (La Siembra) is willing to sit on the interim steering committee as Secretary pending approval of La Siembra

 Sini Maury, needs to know where she will be working and whether that org will be a member, but would be willing to continue to volunteer and support administrative functions

Representative from Ten Thousand Villages (Jacqui or a staff member)


Current members who may continue on steering committee

– Satya Ramen, needs to check with her Board, but feels it would be important to have Maritime representation

– Jacqui, depends, but feels it’s important that Villages be represented and that there is West Coast representation

– Roxanne, needs to check with head office,

– Reykia, needs direction from TransFair Canada board


Next steps:

– initial meeting between past steering committee and interim steering committee, to be called by Carmen

– founding meeting of interim steering committee (after confirmation from potential members who require their organization’s approval) before close of 2008


Steps that must be undertaken before next general meeting

– we need a home (esp. for fiscal agency)

– we need financing; minimum target $30,000 (identify founding members who will provide financial support) and plan for following year’s financing – letters to potential founding members in 2008

– determine whether we need a finance committee

– definition of Fair Trade

– Chair for steering committee

– TOR for steering committee

– nominating committee

– action plan for each thematic committee communicated to interim steering committee by Feb 2009

– clear understanding of organizational structure and membership criteria

– hiring of a part-time staff person

– website & calendar


To be addressed when capacity allows

– regional networks and/or regional communication point people


Bob Thomson willing to support interim steering committee with webmaster support and bookkeeping if it does not become onerous

Jyde willing to support interim steering committee with some web design support



Meeting de-brief


Possible improvements

– round table instead of rows

– greater trust in work at previous meetings and work of steering committee so that we can move even further forward at next meeting

– understanding of consensus as meaning “I can live with this” not “I am in 100% agreement with this”

Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade, First National General Meeting – Minutes for Nov 1, 2008 – Fair Trade Federation version
June 27, 2009, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Fair Trade, Fair Trade Canada | Tags: ,

Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade First General Meeting November 1-2, 2008 The meeting began at 9:15am on Saturday, November 1 in the auditorium of St. Paul’s University in Ottawa. Reykia Fick of TransFair Canada called the meeting to order, welcomed participants, and thanked Ten Thousand Villages, Level Ground Trading, and Just Us! Coffee Roasters for their sponsorship of the event. Umi Café, located at 610 Somerset Street, was also thanked for hosting an informal welcome reception on Friday, October 31. The meeting was held in both French and English with translation Fick then introduced Denyse Guy from the Ontario Cooperative Association who facilitated the meeting. Guy reviewed the five objectives of the meeting: 1. Develop collectively the organizational framework to build a fair trade movement in Canada. 2. Agree on the vision, mission and value statements for the coalition. 3. Determine key functions of the coalition and mechanisms for participation. 4. Develop one year operational plan with key priorities including deliverables with timing. 5. Celebrate our achievements. She asked for additions or amendments to these objectives. None given. To begin the meeting, participants set agreements to guide behaviour during the weekend. Agreements included offering an inclusive space for discussion, being efficient, being flexible with the meeting agenda, creating a speaker’s list, raising hands to be recognized, seeking consensus, and disagreeing without being disagreeable. All participants then introduced themselves and outlined their hopes and expectations for the weekend. Shared expectations included creating a common voice among those interested and involved in Fair Trade throughout Canada, increasing awareness among the public, governments, and businesses, offering clear messaging about what Fair Trade is, offering a space for discussion, and closer connections among those involved in Fair Trade in Canada. Three exercises also sought to capture the diversity within the group, including the geographic distribution, years involved in fair trade, and affiliation (university, NGO, Fair Trade company, etc.). Representatives from the NGO sector and from Fair Trade companies constituted the two largest groups participating, but individuals from universities, representing producer groups, and government were also in attendance. After a brief review of the agenda, a majority of participants agreed that the weekend would not include a formal discussion of how the Coalition would define Fair Trade. It was also recognized that notes and suggestions from earlier meetings regarding the definition had been sent to FINE Network and that discussions are underway between FLO and IFAT on an updated version of the international definition. Guy then led participants in a brainstorm session of values for the Coalition. The final set of Values will be drafted and confirmed by the Steering Committee, but ideas included • Partnership, • Inclusion, • Democracy / democratic governance, • Solidarity, • Representative / Diverse • Cooperation, • Sustainability • Practicality • Consumer Knowledge / Empowerment • Collegiality and Respect • Justice • Respect Carmen Iezzi of the Fair Trade Federation then presented the statement which the Steering Committee had proposed as working mission for the Coalition, as well as a brief summary of data collected during a pre-meeting survey. The survey was created by the Steering Committee to collect information primarily from those who could not attend the meeting and to use their input to inform the discussion during the meeting. In all, sixty people completed the survey. Of the respondents, 92.2% supported or strongly supported the draft mission statement. Participants during the session agreed that they would not wordsmith the text of the mission, but instead discuss whether it captured the ideas of and for the Coalition. Many participants sought a bolder, stronger, and more action-oriented mission statement than the version proposed which more clearly talked about Fair Trade. It was agreed that a small group would revise the statement over lunch and come back with a proposal. After lunch, this committee’s work received some positive feedback. It was edited and amended by several participants before finally being adopted as: The Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade works to promote and strengthen Fair Trade as a sustainable economic model through networking, advocacy, and public engagement. Participants also considered several key functions for the Coalition: • Networking • Education • Promotion / Offering a Common Voice • Advocacy • Enhancing the Capacity of Organizations (sharing information, resources, etc.) There was general agreement that the Coalition could facilitate campaigns, mobilize Canadians to choose Fair Trade Certified products and products from members of the Fair Trade Federation or IFAT, and support the development of regional, national, and local networks. Participants also debated the differences between what the Coalition would do and what members of the Coalition would do. Some differences of opinion persisted regarding how broad or narrow focus to Coalition’s work (as the Coalition itself), but there was general agreement that members should consider what activities they can do more effectively together than apart and/or informally when deciding.

Equinomics: August and September notes and updates
October 5, 2008, 7:46 pm
Filed under: Equinomics, Student Activism | Tags: , , ,



Equinomics is an Ontario-based student-labour coalition for building solidarity and facilitating communication between groups advocating alternatives for a more just and sustainable economic order.


Equinomics organizes in an anti-oppression framework. Our core program is called The Bookstore Plan. The Plan’s objective is to have university bookstores source apparel manufactured by workers whose right to unionize is respected and who are paid a living wage, as defined by the Worker Rights Consortium.


Equinomics is organizing an Activist School for February 27-March 1, 2009. The Activist School will include training on anti-oppression, The Bookstore Plan, direct action, and plenty of time for sharing experiences and movement building.


The founding members of Equinomics are: Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, Canadian Labour Congress, Sierra Youth Coalition-Ontario, and former organizers of Canadian Student Fair Trade Network.


For more information on how you can get involved, email one of the catalysts of Equinomics: Patrick Clark patrickclark [at ]; Ian Hussey ihussey [at]



Notes from Equinomics session facilitated at the CFS-Ontario Activist Assembly on September 27 at the University of Toronto:


We want to thank the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario for organizing a rad space for organizers to get together for a couple days.


Pat Clark and Ian Hussey facilitated a one hour session on Equinomics. About 40 people participated; organizing on the following Ontario university campuses was discussed: University of Guelph, Carleton University, University of Ottawa, York University, Waterloo University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, Trent University, University of Western Ontario


Equinomics’ prelim objectives for the year were discussed: The Bookstore Plan, Activist School, worker tour


Participants suggested we move the first Equinomics coordinating committee meeting from Nov 1 to after Nov 5 because of the Drop Fees campaign. Nov 8 was a suggested new date. The meeting will be likely held at Ryerson University.


Notes from Equinomics planning meeting held at the USW Hall in downtown Toronto on August 21-22:


This meeting wraps up the initial organizational visioning process of Equinomics.


Equinomics gladly recognizes the support and solidarity shown by the CLC and CFS-O in making it possible for Theresa Haas of the Worker Rights Consortium to participate in this planning meeting. We’d also like to thank the USW for providing us with the great meeting space.


Meeting Participants: Aaron (SYC-O), James (USAS member), Hilary (Criteria Fair Trade), Shelley (CFS-O), Pat (Equinomics), Ian (Equinomics), Erin (CLC), Theresa (WRC), John (CAW), Hildah (CFS-O), Andrew (CFS-O and ONDY), Sharon (Just Shirts)


Action plan:


-Pat to email Raj of WPIRG

Erin to email YUM, CUPE university workers, Ram, ONDY

Erin to update lists of unions and coops

-Ian to follow up by email with Tyler Downey of SEIU

-James to email Ali about getting Ryerson space for Nov. 8 (date to be confirmed)

-James to email Centre for Social Justice

-James to email USAS CC about partnership with the Equinomics coalition



-Pat drafting pamphlet to send to the rest of us by the end of August.



-Come to a consensus on the pamphlet wording

-CLC to translate and print pamphlet

-dates and location for Activist School (when is Reading Week?) should be on pamphlet

-CFS-Ontario Activist Assembly on Sept 26-27: Pat and Ian to facilitate a session

-continue to grow Coordinating Committee, try to pull in new members at Activist Assembly

-Sept-Oct, Pat to look into rough budget of El Salvadorian worker tour, and to talk to USAS about planning and facilitating the tour (CISPES and SalvAide might also be of use)



-SYC-National meeting, Oct 2-5, Sherbrooke QC (Erin and Pat participating)

-Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade, Oct 3-5, Ottawa (Ian participating)

-CLC Gapzilla (Laurentian, Guelph, York, maybe 5 other campuses in ON)

-CLC meeting in late Oct, could do a presentation


Nov. 8 (date to be confirmed)

-Founding Equinomics Coordinating Committee meeting (Ryerson?)

-Get student organizers from all Canadian affiliates of WRC to Nov 1 founding meeting (Trent, U of T, York, Ryerson, Guelph, McMaster and Queens)

-Discuss how Coordinating Committee will function, fiscal agency, action plan for coming months, and how to roll out the USAS Bookstore Plan as our initial core programming



-Fiscal agency? (connect with Sage Centre and CCIC trade policy committee)

-Set up communications

-SYC is holding their ON provincial meeting at Lakehead at the end of January

Erin out of province first two weeks of Feb.



-Activist School may be held in early March or late Feb, need to check Reading Week dates (may be we can set up a system where we facilitate a session each fall at the CFS-O Activist Assembly and at the CLC fall meeting, and we run our Activist School each spring)

-At the Activist School folks might be interested in starting to draft a policy platform for ON schools on fair trade, no sweat and local goods

-Other possible sessions of interest include one on the York sit-in of spring 08 and of course the Bookstore Plan (would be ideal if Victoria and/or Terrance could facilitate the former)

Ontario-wide tour with a worker from El Salvador union garment factory (Pat taking the lead)




Over 50% of the CLC and of the CFS memberships are located in Ontario.


CFS bulk purchasing program:

-Realize the economies of scale

-ethically produced and sustainable products

-bulk purchasing of ethically produced and sustainable orientation materials (t-shirts, tote bags, laundry bags, water bottles, clipboards, pens, lanyards)

-Just Shirts: Toronto-based company, facilitates purchase and distribution of textile products, works exclusively with worker-owned Single Mothers Co-operative of El Salvador (worker-owned, health and pension benefits, travel allowance, and improved work conditions with better pay)

-There is a video on You Tube about the Single Mothers Coop in El Salvador

-The first order was for 20,000 shirts, the last order was for 80,000; this order provided six months of work for the Single Mothers Coop, and allowed the workers to move to a safer and larger work location in their community


What is SYC?
– national organization by youth and for youth, founded in 1996 as the youth arm of the Sierra Club of Canada-
– mission to empower youth to create more just and sustainable communities using a solutions-based approach
– Youth Action Gatherings in the Summer and Winter across the country: activist camps for high school aged youth
– Sustainable High Schools: students do an audit of sustainability in their school, including attention to investments and purchasing
– bike trips: most recently our second bike trip in the Tar Sands, joining in solidarity with community groups and environmental non-governmental organizations to demand a moratorium on any further developments without meaningful community involvement in planning, that environmental justice be enshrined in the Canadian constitution, and more-
Sustainable Campuses
– our biggest project, about to celebrate its tenth year- active on around 70 campuses across the country supporting students who are leading initiatives to make their campus communities more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable- conducting GHG inventories, comprehensive sustainability audits (including attention to investments and purchasing), developing sustainable business models in print shops and student-run cafés, and more…
SYC’s history with trade justice
– our roots are in the anti-globalization movement
– Seattle 1999
– Deconstructing Dinner Caravan in 2003, bike trip to Mexico City raising awareness about food politics and agri-business
– since we have moved our focus to Sustainable Campuses, we support students and student unions on an ad hoc basis who are developing ethical purchasing policies for their unions or businesses- there has been no concerted campaign, and we’ve been working more with United Student Against Sweatshops recently to combine our efforts-
– here to find out how we can support each others’ work and become more effective at making campuses central agents in promoting trade justice


Worker Rights Consortium:

-WRC is an independent labour rights monitor. WRC doesn’t certify factories; it does factory assessments, research, writes up reports with the current factory conditions and recommendations for improvements

-WRC does worker rights and code of conduct trainings

-WRC has 182 affiliates in the US and Canada

-WRC receives funding from universities and foundations

-For universities to affiliate with WRC: 1) Code of Conduct for garments 2) Factory disclosure 3) Annual fee to WRC

-WRC doesn’t tell university’s which factories and brands to source from

-Corporations provide disclosure to WRC

-WRC has a detailed Living Wage Report on their website which includes living wage estimates for Indonesia and El Salvador. You can access the report at

-Nike, Gildan, Russell etc don’t directly produce apparel, they outsource production, global supply chains; they share factories

-to oversimplify, a supply chain is: university and/or university bookstore à brand à factory

-labour is most flexible cost for factories

-factories cut labour costs to keep their prices low and stay competitive

-companies retaliate against union drives

-cut and run is a major problem in trying to unionize factories in the majority world (cut and run is when a company removes business from a facility after labour rights abuses have been uncovered there. Typically a company will have benefited from the abuses for quite some time, and instead of dealing with the problem they run from it, sending the message that to speak out is to lose employment.)

-universities own their name logos/marks/brands (e.g. York University), corporations need permission to make university branded garments

-Nike factory location disclosure on their website

-1-3% of retail price of garment is labour (Here’s a link to the WRC’s study on the effect of substantial labor cost increases on apparel retail prices:

-3000-4000 factories produce for universities, university apparel 5-10% of each factory, which means university codes of conduct do not hold much sway with management.

-Designated Supplier Program is looking to consolidate industry for university sourcing from the current large group of factories to a smaller group whose primary partners would be universities, so universities will have more of a say in the factory conditions

-DSP is about fair prices and higher standards (living wage, respect for unions)

-45 universities in US signed up to DSP

-DSP more relevant for US schools, seems the Bookstore Plan is more appropriate for Canadian schools


Bookstore Plan:

-Purchase from a company that is willing to meet higher standards at one or more factories

-Purchase will be done through the bookstore

-Similar to the consumer-driven model for coffee

-Knight’s Apparel is participating in the Bookstore Plan

-The Plan will use an El Salvador factory, 250 workers, workers’ right to unionize will be respected and workers will be paid a living wage (more than 2.5x the prevailing wage)

-Living wage calculated by WRC for use in the project, Knight agreed to this condition

-Bookstore’s voluntarily buy certain percentage of garments from participating factories (e.g. the El Salvador shop initially, until program is expanded)

-Goal: First products on shelves in spring of 2009

-We can launch the Bookstore Plan in Ontario at our spring Activist School and its connected province-wide worker tour

Streamlining mainstream fairtrade
October 4, 2008, 9:09 am
Filed under: Fair Trade | Tags:

From: <>
Sent: Thursday, October 2, 2008 11:06:26 AM
Subject: Streamlining Mainstream Fairtrade

Streamlining mainstream fairtrade

Editor’s Note: Fair trade has undergone exponential growth in recent years due to fair trade certified food products in mainstream distribution channels. However, mainstreaming-as-product certification has provoked controversy. For some, major firms represent an opportunity for market growth and producer-level-impact. For others, mainstream food companies’ participation in the fair trade certification system will dilute fair trade principles. What has emerged is an alternative strategy for mainstreaming fair trade – coming to the market with a fair trade brand. Brands represent the ‘engines’ of corporate growth, future success and profitability. Replacing the non-profit nature of the traditional FTO with a for-profit structure, brand companies such as Divine Chocolate and Cafedirect exploit commercial tools of marketing to compete in mainstream markets. Fair trade brands can facilitate structures of corporate governance – producers become not only the growers/suppliers for fair trade brand companies, but also company directors and key stakeholders. Moreover, following the example of Europe, promoting fair trade brands through public policy can complete the circle of a public-private-activist partnership. AP*
* Anna Porretta is a contributing editor to Foodforethought.

Confectioners slow to formulate fairtrade products?

By Lindsey Partos
09-Sep-2008 –

In a market that showed year-on-year growth of 47 per cent, the signs are evident that opportunities exist for confectioners to win gains through fairtrade confectionery products, but the limited roll-out of such targeted products in the past year shows confectioners are still proving reticent.

Data from global fairtrade certification body Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) shows consumers, worldwide, spent over €2.3 billion on fairtrade certified products last year.

While this figure pales into the background compared to the estimated retail sales of €2.8 trillion clocked-up annually by shoppers worldwide, the spending on ethically sourced products still represents a 47 per cent leap on the previous year.

But, according to data from market trackers Mintel, 114 fairtrade confectionery products were launched in Europe over the last 12 months, and 44 in North America. A number that has moved up just a notch from the same period between 2006 and 2007, that witnessed 108 launches for Europe, and 26 for North America.

A closer look at the launches reveals that chocolate is the favoured product for fairtrade certification by confectioners. Perhaps, not surprising, in that producers of ethically sourced cocoa beans, the prime raw material for such products, are gradually gaining certification across the globe.

“We’re currently working with 34 producer associations, largely co-operatives” a spokesperson for FLO told The certification body counts producers in Belize, Bolivia, Ecuador and Ivory Coast among its associations, with the largest group in Ghana, where one association represents about 40,000 members.

But, while progress in certification has been exponential in recent years on the back of growing consumer awareness of ethically sourced cocoa, and consequently blossoming consumer demand, in Ghana alone – that contributes 19 per cent of cocoa to the world market – only around 3 per cent of the cocoa is on fairtrade terms.

“A very, very small percentage of the global cocoa market is fairtrade,” added the FLO spokesperson.

“Fairtrade is a question of education and resources. It takes time to go mainstream.”

The UK and The Netherlands are apparently two of the biggest markets for these ethical products, but labelling initiatives – members of FLO – the world over are active in approaching the food industry, lobbying, educating the public, and marketing the label at a national level.

Some food companies have approached the labelling initiatives, says FLO, and signed licensing agreements to use the certificate and logo on their products. About 40 per cent of funding for FLO, a non-profit organisation, hails from these licenses, with the remaining majority of funds made up by donors.

And in terms of recent launches, UK confectioner Divine that delivers fairtrade with a decidedly luxurious twist last month launched ‘Divine Dark, Milk & White Chocolates’ with a new packaging. The box contains 18 hand-finished chocolates including pralines, caramels, hazelnut, mocha and fruit flavours.

According to the firm, the fairtrade certified chocolates are flavoured using only natural ingredients. The chocolate is packaged in a 225g black box adorned with gold West African Adrinkra symbols.

Elsewhere, in France chocolate firm Ed rolled out its ‘Commerce Equitable fairtrade chocolate’ earlier this month. The product carries an AB organic produce certificate in addition to an Ecocert fairtrade guarantee. The chocolate, made from Ecuador cocoa, is produced by the Unocace cooperative.

“The product is described as having a floral fragrance, with high quality cocoa to provide a uniquely fine and perfumed chocolate,” writes Mintel. Other ingredients in the product are organic sugar and vanilla extract, plus sunflower lecithin emulsifier.

Again, launched onto the French market, confectioner Rapunzel Naturkost has rolled-out the ‘Rapunzel Chocolat au Lait’, a milk chocolate table made from pure cocoa butter. Further ingredients in the bar include whole cane sugar rapadura, brown cane crystalline sugar, powdered whole milk (24 per cent), cocoa paste, emulsifier: soya lecithin, and bourbon vanilla.

And in the US, Kopali Organics turned to health-busting fruit with its May launch of ‘Kopali Organics dark chocolate covered mulberries’. Certified USDA organic and fairtrade, the product boasts “antioxidants, vitamin C and bioflavonoids, and is free from preservatives and trans fats.”

The 2 oz pack aims to highlight the benefits of fair trade and organic foods, and also available from the firm are: cacao ‘nibs’; espresso beans; goji berries; and bananas.

The fruit theme continues with Endangered Species Chocolate, that in March launched its milk chocolate with cherries product.

“This 100 per cent ethically traded product” contains a massive 88 per cent cocoa. According to the firm, 10 per cent of the profits from the product will be donated “to help support species, habitat and human.”

WHO WE ARE: Foodforethought is an information service that encourages dialogue and exploration of innovative trends in the global food system. The service is managed by James Kuhns of MetroAg Alliance for Urban Agriculture in collaboration with Amber McNair of the University of Toronto in association with the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives (CUHI), and Wayne Roberts of the Toronto Food Policy Council. To subscribe, please contact

Invitation October 31 – November 2, Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade
September 28, 2008, 11:23 am
Filed under: Fair Trade, Fair Trade Canada | Tags: , ,

Dear Canadian Fair Traders,

We would like to invite you to the first annual general meeting of the emerging and unofficially named Canadian Coalition for Fair Trade (former working names include “Canadian Platform on Fair Trade” and  “Fair Trade Association of Canada”). The meeting will take place Friday October 31st at 5 pm to Sunday November 2nd at 1 pm in Ottawa.  The meeting will be bilingual (French and English) with simultaneous translation provided.

The meeting agenda will include:

·    Presentations and networking around current projects of participating Fair Trade businesses, educators and advocates.

·     Discussion and decision-making on the mission, vision and overarching functions of the Coalition, mechanisms for participation, definition of Fair Trade and a final name.

·    Identifying priorities and activities for collective action for the upcoming year and electing a Coordinating Committee for the Coalition.


Attached you will find a proposal for the Coalition’s structure, including the mission, vision functions, and mechanisms of participation.  This proposal has been drafted by the Coalition’s current Coordinating Committee based on the discussions of the three regional strategic planning meetings in Saskatoon, Montreal and Vancouver. The proposal will serve as a starting point for discussion in Ottawa.  In preparation for the AGM and to collect feedback from those who will not be able to attend, we have designed a survey on the proposal:  We would ask you to please complete the survey by October 20th so that your opinion can be represented in the final discussions.  We expect the Coalition’s structure to be decided at this meeting, along with the Coalition’s joint projects and short-term priorities.

The meeting will be most relevant for those already engaged in Fair Trade education, advocacy, business and research initiatives hoping to expand Fair Trade in Canada. In order to cover costs, there will be a conference fee of $60 / person for waged participants and $30 / person for the unwaged / students. Further information, including a detailed meeting agenda, will be distributed shortly.

For more information about the Coalition, updated info about the Ottawa AGM, and to join in the discussions, please visit the new website:


Please RSVP to Sini Maury at by October 20.

Hope to see you there!

Roxanne Cave (Ten Thousand Villages)
Reykia Fick (TransFair Canada)
Ian Hussey (Equinomics)
Carmen Iezzi (Fair Trade Federation)
Jacqui MacDonald (Just Trade)

Sini Maury (Oxfam Fair Trade)
Satya Ramen (Just Us! Development and Education Society)